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Recap of 2017 CHampionship For a team that went 87-52 in the regular season, sporting the Carolina League’s best record, the 2017 campaign came to a fitting close. On September 9, 2017 the Hillcats defeated the Frederick Keys, 7-1, to win their eighth championship in franchise history and its first since 2012. Lynchburg’s offense provided a four-run third inning and a three-run sixth, while Brock Hartson tied a career-high with seven strikeouts through four innings to solidify championship status.

The Hillcats were co-champions of the Carolina League with the Down East Wood Ducks in ‘17, as Hurricane Irma forced the Championship Series to be cancelled. Lynchburg excelled on both sides of the ball throughout the entire season in the midst of their championship run. The Hillcats pitching staff finished with the league’s best team ERA (3.21) and walked the fewest batters (365). On

the offensive side, Lynchburg tallied the third-best team batting average in the Carolina League (.258), finished with the second-most RBIs (577), runs (645), doubles (262) and slugging (.395). Three of the Hillcats most reliable starting pitchers finished in the top-5 in league ERA during the champion- ship season. Hartson, who got his feet wet in Advanced-A with six starts for the Lynchburg in 2016, made 23

appearances (19 starts) for the Hillcats last year. The right-hander went 6-5 with a 3.06 ERA, good for best in the league among qualifying pitchers. Hartson’s best work came when he moved into the starting rotation full- time after the All Star Break, posting a 2.63 ERA through 11 starts. Triston McKenzie’s powerful right arm struck out a league-leading 186 batters in 143 innings for the ‘Cats last season. A 19-year-old for most of the season, McKenzie logged a 12-6 record with a 3.46 ERA (third-best in the league) in 25 starts. He posted double-digit strikeouts in six starts, including a career-high 14 punch outs on May 9 against Carolina. In the winning series against the Keys in the postseason, McKenzie struck out 10 in seven score- less innings. The third member of the outstanding pitching trio for the Hillcats last year, Shao-Ching Chiang, had the league’s fifth-best ERA at 3.67. He went 8-8 in 19 starts, including two complete games with one shutout. Lynchburg lost Chiang in August, as the right- hander and Taiwan native was promot- ed to Double-A Akron where he made six starts to finish the year. All three pitchers were Carolina League All Stars in 2017. On the hitting side, Willi Castro led the Hillcats with a .290 average throughout

the championship run, good for fourth- best in the league. Castro clobbered 11 homers and drove in a career-high 58 runs. The 20-year-old also homered in the clinching series against Frederick in the postseason. Ka’ai Tom tied for the team lead with 65 RBI and led the club with 31 doubles last season. The Hawaii native belted 10 homers and hit .254 as a main fixture in the ‘Cats everyday lineup. Sicnarf Loopstok also drove in 65 runs and led the Hillcats by popping a career-high 17 home runs. He drove in three runs in the postseason series against Frederick. Finishing with the Carolina League’s eighth-best batting average was Martin Cervenka. Lynchburg’s starting catcher hit .278 with eight homers and 57 RBI and hit a two-run double in the third inning of the 7-1 win against the Keys to clinch the championship. The Hillcats finished the 2017 sea- son with a 46-27 home record, tying Frederick for the most home wins in the league. Last season marked the first Carolina League title for an Indians affili- ate since Kinston won in 2006. Lynch- burg embarks on a 2018 season looking to repeat as champions for the second time in franchise history. The Lynchburg Mets won back-to-back titles during the 1983-1984 seasons.

Hillcats 2018 Roster

Last Updated: April 2, 2018 NUMERICAL ROSTER





B/T Ht.

Wt. Acquired



Birthplace Glendora, CA


1 4 7 8

Conner Capel Erlin Cerda Jodd Carter Gavin Collins Mitch Longo

Justin Garza Sam Hentges Luis Jimenez Ben Krauth

R/R 5’10 170 8th Rd. - 2015

3/20/94 24 7/18/96 21 3/10/94 24 7/28/94 23 4/27/94 23 4/12/96 21 2/17/92 26 1/21/95 23 7/19/95 22 8/10/92 25 11/30/94 23 1/2/95 22 9/6/92 25


23 41 22 34 46 30 32 45 44 29

L/L 6’6 R/R 6’4 R/R 6’4 R/R 6’1 R/R 6’7 R/R 6’7 R/R 6’2 L/L 6’0

245 4th Rd.- 2014 170 Intl FA - 2013 180 16th Rd. - 2016 185 3rd Rd. - 2012 175 Intl FA - 2013 195 8th Rd. - 2014 210 MiLB FA - 2018 200 12th Rd. - 2016 190 Intl FA - 2011 190 Intl FA - 2014 180 10th Rd. - 2015 200 26th Rd. - 2016

Maplewood, MN Yaguate, D.R.



Concord, CA


10 12 13 15 20 22 23 27 28 29 30 32 34 40 41 44 45 46

Kieran Lovegrove Henry Martinez Micah Miniard Jake Paulson Zach Plesac Dalbert Siri Billy Strode Tanner Tully Anderson Polanco CATCHERS (2)

Johannesburg, South Africa LYN

Luke Wakamatsu Trenton Brooks Alexis Pantoja Logan Ice Ben Krauth Sam Hentges Li-Jin Chu Emmanuel Tapia

Cabral, D.R. Danville, KY Wixom, MI




Crown Point, IN




Santo Domingo, D.R.


R/R 6’2

Moca, D.R.



6’0 6’0

Boca Raton, FL


Elkhart, IN


Tanner Tully Zach Plesac


Anderson Polanco Kieran Lovegrove Anthony Miller



B/T Ht.

Wt. Acquired





27 20

Li-Jen Chu Logan Ice

R/R 5’11 200 Intl. FA - 2012

3/13/94 24

Taichung, Taiwan


Luis Jimenez Billy Strode Dalbert Siri

S/R 5’10 180 2nd Rd.-CBA-2016 5/27/95


Tacoma, WA



Henry Martinez



B/T Ht. R/R 5’9

Wt. Acquired





4 8

Erlin Cerda Gavin Collins Anthony Miller Alexis Pantoja Emmanuel Tapia Luke Wakamatsu

170 Intl. FA - 2012



Santiago, D.R.


R/R 5’11 190 13th Rd. - 2016

7/17/95 22 10/4/94 23 1/18/96 22 2/26/96 22 10/10/96 21

Newport Beach, CA Kansas City, MO

40 15 28 12

L/R 6’4

240 18th Rd. - 2015


S/R 5’11 150 9th Rd. - 2014

Manati, P.R.




215 Intl. FA - 2013 185 20th Rd. - 2015

Santo Domingo Centro, D.R. LC

S/R 6’3

Phoenix, AZ







B/T Ht.

Wt. Acquired



Birthplace Alpine, CA Katy, TX



Justin Toole Tony Arnold Rougie Odor Grant Fink


Trenton Brooks Conner Capel Jodd Carter Mitch Longo Connor Marabell*


6’0 6’1

180 17th Rd. - 2016 185 5th Rd. - 2016 185 14th Rd. - 2016 195 25th Rd. - 2015




17 24 33

1 7

5/19/97 20 7/20/96 21 1/12/95 23 3/28/94 24


R/R 5’10 175 24th Rd. - 2014

Hilo, HI



L/R 6’0 L/R 6’1

Mayfield, OH Jacksonville, FL




* - Disabled List *** - Indians 40-man roster % - Inactive player # - MLB rehab ^ - Restricted List



24 17

Rougie Odor Tony Arnold Justin Toole Grant Fink Bobby Ruiz Eric Ortego


Pitching Coach Hitting Coach Bench Coach Athletic Trainer



Strength & Conditioning Coach







Conner Capel Kieran Lovegrove Alexis Pantoja

CAY-pull Keer-in

34 15


Alexis Pantoia Infielder

Anderson Polanco Pitcher

Anthony Miller Infielder

Ben Krauth Pitcher

Billy Strode Pitcher

Gavin Collins Infielder

Connor Capel Outfielder

Dalbert Siri Pitcher

Emmanuel Tapia Infielder

Erlin cerda Infielder

Henry Martinez Pitcher

Logan Ice Catcher

Luis Jimenez Pitcher

Li-Jen Chu Catcher

Luke Wakamatsu Infielder

Mitch Longo Outfielder

Jake Paulson Pitcher

Micah Miniar Pitcher

Jiminez Director of Fun

Jodd Carter Outfielder

Justin Garza Pitcher

Kieran Lovegrove Pitcher

Sam Hentges Pitcher

Tanner Tully Pitcher

Trenton Brooks Outfielder

Zach Plesac Pitcher

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Night Autism Awareness

The Lynchburg Hillcats will be hosting their 10th annual Autism Awareness Night on April 28 against the Potomac Nationals. On this day, the Hillcats coaches and players will be wearing special jerseys that will be bid on during the game and given to the winner following the game. All of the proceeds from the jersey’s will benefit the Growth Through Op- portunity Program. “The Hillcats organization is proud and happy that we are able to host Autism Awareness and Acceptance Night for our 10th consecutive year in 2018. This is a great cause which benefits children, adults and their families who are dealing with autism. One of our missions is to be good corporate citizens and we strive to make our community a bet- ter place to live, and to help out with worthy causes as often as we can.” Autism Awareness Night is sup- ported by title sponsor Physicians Treatment Center and presenting sponsors: Developmental Pedi- atrics, Wooldridge Heating Air & Electrical, HighPeak Sportswear,

and Piedmont Eye Center. The Growth Through Opportunity Program (GTO) is a non-profit organization which provides a unique training program de- signed to teach adults with Autism, and other related disabili- ties, life, social and employment skills working alongside first re- sponders. GTO provides oppor- tunities for participants to intern in local public first responder agencies and disability awareness training. GTO will also hold an in-game auction of various items that they have received through donations from area businesses. Proceeds will support their own organiza- tion, as well as the Yellow Branch Challenger League, which is a non-profit organization specifi- cally for individuals who are intel- lectually or physically challenged. The program offers opportunities for recreation and friendship. Additionally, the Hillcats are giv- ing away an Autism Awareness t-shirt to the first 1,000 fans, thanks to Physicians Treatment Center of Lynchburg.

Community Impact

Donated $55k+ to local youth league teams and non-profit organizations

Donated 12,000 books designed by the Lynchburg Hillcats and 24,000 tickets to students in Central Virginia.

32 Player appearances to local schools and organizations.

75 Southpaw community appearances.

Presented “Southpaw Goes to School” Reading Program to 50 different schools across 5 counties.

Hosted 8 middle schools and over 800 students for “Say No to Drugs Day at the Ballpark.”

$179k+ in in-kind gifts donated to community organizations.




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1. FRANCISCO MEJIJA, C BORN: Oct. 27, 1995. B-T: B-R. HT.: 5-10. WT.: 175. SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 2012. SIGNEDBY: Ramon Pena. TRACKRECORD: Mejia’s precocious talent has been apparent since the Indians signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 and sent him to make his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League the following season. He had an eventful path through the minors that included a historic hitting streak and nearly being included in a blockbuster trade before making his major league debut in September 2017 as a 21-year-old. Mejia broke out in 2016 and authored a 50-game hitting streak at two Class A levels that is the longest in the modern era of the minor leagues (dating back to 1963). He kept hitting in 2017 as he advanced to Double-A Akron. He finished the year in the Arizona Fall League, where he was one of the cir- cuit’s leading hitters. SCOUTINGREPORT: Mejia has long been known for his hitting ability, and the switch-hitter consistently makes hard contact from both sides of the plate. He has matured as a hitter to use the whole field to hit, instead of relying on the pull-oriented approach he had when he was younger. His bat speed gives him more raw power than his lean 5-foot-10 frame would suggest, but he more typically drives balls into the gaps than over the fence. He has an aggressive

† ProjectedFutureGradesOn20-80ScoutingScale HIT: 60. POWER: 45. SPEED: 40. FIELD: 50. ARM: 80.

approach and doesn’t walk much, but his excellent feel for the barrel means he also doesn’t strike out much and is comfortable working behind in the count. Mejia has made strides defensively, has elite arm strength and has become a good receiver. He has gotten comfortable speaking English, a key skill for him to work with his pitchers, and has developed more consistency behind the plate. For all his progress defensively, however, Mejia’s bat remains ahead of his glove. Because his bat isn’t far off from being ready for the big leagues, and because the Indians haveYan Gomes and Roberto Perez, a pair of excellent defensive catchers, in Cleveland, Mejia went to the AFL to get experience at third base. He is naturally still learning the position but he will continue to see action at the hot corner in 2018. THEFUTURE: Mejia will open 2018 atTriple-A Columbus, and if he continues to hit the way he has throughout his career, he will find his way into the big league lineup during the summer. His long-term future remains behind the plate, but his added defensive versa- tility will help him as he breaks into the majors. 2017Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB Akron (AA) .297 .346 .490 347 52 103 21 2 14 52 24 53 7 Cleveland (MLB) .154 .214 .154 13 1 2 0 0 0 1 1 3 0

2. TRISTON M c KENZIE, RHP BORN: Aug. 2, 1997. B-T: R-R. HT.: 6-5. WT.: 165. DRAFTED: HS—Royal Palm Beach, Fla., 2015 (1st round supple- mental). SIGNEDBY: Juan Alvarez. TRACKRECORD: McKenzie contin- ued to build on his track record of success in 2017 and ranked second in the minors with 186 strikeouts. He

3. BOBBY BRADLEY, 1B BORN: May 29, 1996. B-T: L-R. HT.: 6-1. WT.: 225. DRAFTED: HS—Gulfport, Miss., 2014 (3rd round). SIGNEDBY: Mike Bradford. TRACKRECORD: Bradley has been one of the most productive players in the Indians’ farm system since they drafted him. He won the

4. NOLAN JONES, 3B BORN: May 7, 1998. B-T: L-R. HT.: 6-3. WT.: 195. DRAFTED: HS—Bensalem, Pa., 2016 (2nd round). SIGNEDBY: Mike Kanen. TRACKRECORD: Jones was regard- ed as one of the best prep hitters in the 2016 draft class, but he slipped to the second round, where the

presents the same challenge to evaluators today that he did as an amateur: His track record is unimpeachable and he has impressive stuff, but he is listed at a rail-thin 6-foot-5 and 165 pounds. SCOUTINGREPORT: McKenzie’s fastball can get up to 95 mph and averaged about 92 in 2017. He held that velocity throughout the season, and while it would dip during starts, he also showed the ability to reach back for more at the end of his outings. His fastball plays up and gets swings and misses thanks to the extension in his delivery and the high spin rate on the pitch. He also has a feel for spinning his curveball, which can be an out pitch. His changeup isn’t as advanced but has the poten- tial to be above-average. McKenzie needs to improve his routines and physique to allow him to manage a start- er’s workload. THEFUTURE: McKenzie is speeding toward the big leagues and has the upside to be a frontline starter. He will advance to Double-A Akron in 2018 for his first taste of the upper minors. 2017Club (Class) W L ERA G GS SV IP H HR BB SO AVG Lynchburg (HiA) 12 6 3.46 25 25 0 143 105 14 45 186 .203

Rookie-level Arizona League triple crown in 2014 by hitting .361 with eight home runs and 50 RBIs. He led the Midwest League with 27 home runs in 2015 and the Carolina League with 29 home runs in 2016. He fell short of making it four straight home run crowns, however, when he ranked sixth in the Eastern League with 23 homers at Double-A Akron in 2017. SCOUTINGREPORT: Bradley’s raw power is the best in the system, and he has shown he is adept at getting to it in games. He has a strong, physical frame and creates excellent bat speed that allows him to drive the ball out to all fields.That power comes with a lot of swing and miss, but he cut his strikeout rate in 2017 from 29 per- cent to a much more manageable 22 percent. Bradley is a well below-average runner with an average arm, limit- ing him to first base. THEFUTURE: Bradley will advance toTriple-A Columbus in 2018, where he could take advantage of Huntington Park’s hitter-friendly dimensions. He has the potential to become a middle-of-the-order hitter. 2017Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB Akron (AA) .251 .331 .465 467 66 117 25 3 23 89 55 122 3

Indians were happy to take him at No. 55 overall. He got back to his elite hitting in 2017 at short-season Mahoning Valley, where he led the NewYork-Penn League with a .912 OPS as a 19-year-old. SCOUTINGREPORT: Jones has an easy lefthanded swing and uses the whole field to hit. He is a patient hitter who led the NYP in with 43 walks. He reduced his strike- out rate, but his patience means he works many deep counts and will always strike out a fair amount. He has proven to be an advanced hitter but also has above-av- erage raw power that he is still learning to get to consis- tently in games. As he physically matures, he projects to hit for plus power. Jones fits the third-base profile, but he still has work to do to ensure he can stick at the hot corner. He has plus arm strength but needs to improve his glove work and infield actions. If he moves, his ath- leticism and average speed will play in right field. THEFUTURE: Jones provides plenty of upside. He will get his first taste of full-season ball in 2018 when he opens the year at low Class A Lake County. 2017Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB Mahon.Valley (SS) .317 .430 .482 218 41 69 18 3 4 33 43 60 1



January 12–26, 2018


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Promotional Schedule 2018

Lynchburg, Va. – The Lynchburg Hillcats, A-Advanced affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, unveiled their 2018 promotions schedule filled with exciting giveaways, entertain- ment, themed nights and fireworks to engage fans for the upcoming season. The jam-packed promotional schedule begins with Opening Day at Calvin Falwell Field on April 5. The game will feature a schedule magnet giveaway, as well as the first of 12 Thirsty Thursday’s during the 2018 season. A highlight of the Hillcats theme nights in 2018 will be four bobble- head giveaway nights. The Hillcats will be giving away the bobble- heads as part of the Bobblehead “Love” Series this season. When put together, the four bobbleheads create a Love Sign, making them a memorable collectable throughout the year. The annual Star Wars Night is on May 4, along with the Southpaw Bobblehead giveaway. Greatefully Dead Christmas Night is on May 19th, presented by My Guitar Shop and Speakertree Records, which in- cludes a pre-game cover band per- formance and post-game fireworks presented by Woodforest National Bank. Additionally, Lynchburg will wear Gratefully Dead Christmas-

themed jerseys that fans will have the opportunity to bid on during the game. June 22 is Jurassic at the Park Night, plus the Francisco Mejia Bobblehead giveaway. The Hillcats will also be giving away an Evan Gattis Bobblehead on You’re Killing Me Smalls Night on July 20. Mar- garitaville Night is coming to Calvin Falwell Field on August 10. Fans will enjoy a t-shirt giveaway as well as a pre-game cover band performance. August 17 features Mario Kart Night at the ballpark, and the Hillcats will be passing out a Triston McKenzie Bobblehead. The Hillcats will wear special jerseys that will be auctioned off for char- ity on two additional nights this season. April 28 is the Hillcats’ 10th annual Autism Awareness Night, and all of the proceeds from the jersey auction will benefit Growth Through Opportunity.. Breast Cancer Awareness Night is on June 8, with the jersey auction benefiting the Susan G. Komen foundation. Both nights will also feature a t-shirt giveaway in support of autism and breast cancer awareness. All of the player and coach’s jerseys will be bid on during the game and given to the winner following the game. The 2018 promotional schedule including giveaways, fireworks and daily value promotions is listed on the next few pages.

Giveaways (15)

April 5 & 6 – 2018 Hillcats Magnet Schedule – (1,000) courtesy of Nadine Blakely April 27 – Team Photo – (1,000) courtesy of Clarke Printing April 28 – T-shirt for Autism Awareness – (1,000) courtesy of Physicians Treatment Center of Lynchburg May 4 – Bobblehead – Southpaw – (1000) courtesy of Pepsi May 18 – Paint the Park Purple Night: T-shirt for American Cancer Society – (1,000) courtesy of Gastroenterology Associates of Central Virginia June 8 – T-Shirt for Breast Cancer Awareness – (1,000) courtesy of Centra June 15 – Sunglasses – (1,000) courtesy of HighPeak Sportswear June 22 – Bobblehead – Francisco Mejia – (1,000) courtesy of Pepsi July 6 – Patriotic Cap – (1,000) courtesy of Foster Fuels & KD Country July 20 – Bobblehead – Evan Gattis – (1000) courtesy of Pepsi July 21 – Used Car Giveaway – Courtesy of D’NX Motor Sales August 10 – Hawaiian T-shirt – (1,000) courtesy of HighPeak Sportswear

Fireworks (12) April 7 presented by Select Bank April 28th presented by Physicians Treatment Center May 5 presented by Assurance Financial May 19 presented by Woodforest National Bank June 9 presented by Central Virginia Federal Credit Union June 16 presented by The Leaf Creative Salads and La Carreta June 23 presented by Hillcats Baseball July 4 presented by Kroger and Westover Dairy July 7 presented by MemberOne Federal Credit Union July 21 presented by D’NX Motor Sales August 11 presented by Food Lion August 18 presented by Food Lion

2018 Daily Value Promos 2Fur Tuesday : Fans receive a $2 concessions deal that will be rotated each week throughout the season, as well as buy-one-get-one specials on tickets. Winning Wednesday : Any fan who attends the game will receive a free ticket to the following Wednesday’s home game, presented by WNRN. Thirsty Thursday : Fans will enjoy $2 beer specials on Miller Lite and Yuengling, presented by Blue Ridge Beverage. Fantastic Friday : The first 1,000 fans will receive a free giveaway. Sparkling Saturday : All fans will see a sparking post-game fireworks show. Sandlot Sunday : Kids Run the Bases and Family Catch in the Outfield post-game. Fans can also play whiffle ball in the outfield following the game, presented by MedExpress. For information about tickets for the 2018 season to watch the Hillcats defend their Carolina League Championship, fans can either call (434) 528-1144 or visit the Hillcats Box Office Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

hillcats ownership The Elmore Sports Group LTD.

David G. Elmore is one of the most respected owners in Minor League Baseball. He founded the Elmore Sports Group in 1969, a sports & entertainment organization com- prised of Minor League Baseball and hockey teams, as well as companies specializing in facility management, travel, concessions and special events. Dave is a member of the Pa- cific Coast League Board of Directors and currently serves on the league’s Executive Committee. D.G. Elmore , son of Dave Elmore, holds both legal and M.B.A. degrees. He is currently the chairman and owner of several different companies including Gant Travel Manage- ment and Cornerstone Information Systems. D.G. is on the Board of Directors for the non-pofit charity New Horizons Foundation and The Navigators, an international Christian organization.

Doug Elmore , son of Dave Elmore, is Managing Director of the Elmore Sports Group, Ltd and President & owner of the Diamond Concessions companies and Vail Service Stations, LLC. Elmore is also involved in real estate, having owned and developed hotels, industrial parks, condominiums and gas stations. Doug Elmore has a B.S. in Public Affairs from Indiana University and an MBA in Finance from Pepperdine University. Elmore and his wife, Julie, live in Chicago and have three grown children.

About Elmore Sports Group: For almost half a century, Elmore Sports Group has provided first-rate and affordable family entertainment, specializing in all things sports, including Minor League Baseball, the East Coast Hockey League, the Premier Develop- ment League, the National Premier Soccer League, and facility management, hospitality, special events & concessions. Elmore Sports Group invests in the community through premium events, outreach initiatives and monetary con- sideration. Elmore Sports Group also strongly believes community is the most important structure in society and it is their honor to contribute to strength- ening this fabric.

hillcats front office staff

Chris Jones President

Ronnie Roberts General Manager

Matt Klein Assistant General Manager

Kestrel Kerl Director of Promotions & Fan Engagement

Max Rettig Director of Sales

Ryan Henson Clubhouse Manager

Max Gun Broadcast & Media Relations Manager

Colin Director of ticketing

Crystal Williamson Director of Finiance & Accounting

Mike Georgiadis Head Grounds- keeper

Jordan Speicher Concessions Manager

Collin Tyzinski Grounds Assistant

Matt Present Broadcast & Media Relations Assistant

SouthPaw Director of Fun

2018 coaching staff

Manager: Rouglas Odor Odor, 49, is entering his 18 th year coaching in the Indians or- ganization and his first with the Hillcats. The former shortstop

Pitching Coach: Tony Arnold Arnold, 58, is back in Lynchburg after serving as the pitching coach for the Hillcats in 2015. The former right-handed pitcher played collegiately at the University of

played in the minor leagues for the Indians from 1988-1994 and for the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1995. Although he has not managed since 2008, Odor brings a decade of skipper experience to Lynch- burg. He led San Felipe in the Venezuelan Summer League for two seasons from 1999-2000, the Burlington Indians for four seasons from 2001-2004, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers for two years from 2005- 2006 and the Gulf Coast League Indians for two campaigns from 2007-2008. The Maracaibo, Venezuela native spent the past three seasons as the hitting coach for the Colum- bus Clippers, Cleveland’s Triple-A affili- ate.

Texas and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 10 th round (258 th overall) in the 1981 MLB Draft. The El Paso, Texas native played in parts of two major league seasons with the Orioles in 1986 and 1987. He appeared in 38 total games in relief, ac- cumulating a 0-2 record with a 5.06 ERA in 78.1 innings pitched. Arnold has coached in the Indians organization since 1992 and most recently was pitching coach of the Akron RubberDucks, Cleveland’s Double-

A affiliate, for the past two seasons.

Hitting Coach: Justin Toole Toole, 31, is in his first year on Lynchburg’s coaching staff and third in the Indians orga- nization. The former infielder

Bench Coach: Grant Fink Fink, 27, joins the Hillcats as bench coach for the first time in 2018, now in his sec- ond season as a coach in the

played in parts of seven minor league seasons with Cleveland from 2009-2015, reaching Triple-A Columbus. The Council Bluffs, Iowa native worked as the hitting coach last year for Single-A Lake County.

Indians organization. The former infielder was drafted by Cleveland in the 23 rd round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Missouri Western State University. A native of St. Joseph, Mo., Fink played in parts of three minor league seasons for the Indians from 2013-2015, reaching Single-A Lake County. Fink was the bench coach last season for Rookie-Level Mahoning Valley.

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Meet southpaw

Southpaw was adopted as the team’s mascot from the Lynchburg Humane Society on January 9, 2017. The bright-colored cat with a big smile & youthful energy has already become a well-known entity with both kids and adults around Lynchburg. Sporting a backward cap and oversized sneakers, Southpaw has made numerous appearances at community and charity events in addition to visiting more than 40 local schools as part of the Hillcats "Hit The Books" reading program. Southpaw can be seen entertaining the crowd and distracting the opponent with his crazy antics.

Full Name: Southpaw Gender: Male Height: 5’10” Birthday: 8/24/2016 Resides: City Stadium

Adopted from the Lynchburg Humane Society on 1/9/17!

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Directions: 12 miles west of Lynchburg on Route 460. Left on New London Road, 1/2 Mile to Entrance. TEE TIMES REQUIRED, CALL 434-525-GOLF (4653)

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Hillcats President Named Executive of the Year

In October, it was announced that Lynch- burg Hillcats President Chris Jones was named the 2017 Calvin Falwell Executive of the Year for the Carolina League. “To be awarded the Calvin Falwell Executive of the Year Award and to be recognized by my peers for what we ac- complished in Lynchburg last season is a great honor” said Jones. “I wouldn’t be receiving this award without the tremen- dous work and support from countless groups of people, including our phe- nomenal front office staff, our loyal fans, Elmore Sports Group, and the Lynchburg community. In just his second year guiding the Hillcats, Lynchburg had a successful 2017 season that began long before the championship took place. Jones oversaw the rebranding of the Hillcats, as well as ballpark renovations to City Stadium that included a new playing surface, expanded netting for fan safety, a new VIP seating area behind home plate, an expanded and resurfaced parking lot and the Starr Hill Brewery Draft Room. The new features bumped overall fan attendance, growing over 10 percent from 2016. “2017 was a magical year for us, and it was very fitting that we capped off

the season with a championship,” said Jones. “We aimed incredibly high with our goals and objectives. I’m glad the fans embraced our rebranding and renova- tion efforts of the Hillcats and City Stadi- um. It’s remarkable to see how much we achieved in just one season and we can’t wait to build off of last year’s success to make 2018 an even better year!” Before joining the HIllcats, Jones served as the General manager for the Sugar Land Skeeters from 2013-2015. He worked for the Lake Elsinore Storm for 12 years, including eight as the General Manager. During his time with the Storm, Jones also won an Executive of the Year honor when he was named as the 2008 California League Executive of the Year. Under Jones’ leadership, the Storm were awarded the Bob Freitas Award in 2007, which recognizes long-term excellence in the operation of minor league franches. In 2011, Lake Elsinore earned the Larry MacPhail Award, which is presented annually by Minor League Baseball to recognize the top promotion effort in the minor leagues. Jones has also spent time in roles with the Dallas Cowboys, High Desert Maver- icks, and Staples Center.

In 2017, the Hillcats partnered with local youth sports leagues in the area to provide community events and fundraisers that were both financially beneficial to the Little Leagues, and a fun night out at the ballpark for players, coaches, parents, and friends alike. Each league picked a Hillcats game to be their “League Night.” The leagues all pre-sold tickets to their selected league night game and received a kickback from each ticket they sold. Players and coaches also participated in an on-field pre-game parade, where each team was recognized over the public-address system. Top selling individuals in each league had the opportunity to throw out first pitches before the game and the top selling team for each league as a collective got to participate in a field of dreams ceremony. As part of the youth sports league fundraising night program, Southpaw and the Hill- cats went to numerous youth league opening and closing ceremonies to promote the league nights and to expand community outreach. Youth Sports Fundraisers HAVE GREAT SUC CESS The Hillcats look to expand this program in 2018, working with several new area programs, in addition to ones from last season including: - April 28 th : Nelson County Dixie Youth Night - May 4 th : Goode Recreation Association Night - May 5 th : Lynchburg Little League Night - May 18 th : Madison Heights Dixie Youth Night - June 16 th : Forest Youth Athletic Association Night

- May 20 th : Appomattox Dixie Youth Day - June 9 th : Timberlake Dixie Youth Night

You can contact your local league or the Hillcats ( to buy a special pre-sale only ticket to have a portion of the funds benefit your selected league. To sign up your league, please contact mrettig@lynchburg- for more information.

Major League Baseb by: Vince Sawyer

This year marks the 88th year of profes- sional baseball in Lynchburg. Many of our local fans are somewhat familiar with our city’s rich “pro ball” history, dating from our first team in 1886. The Hill City also fielded teams in the mid 1890’s and early 1900’s. But it wasn’t until 1939 and the Lynchburg “Grays” that Lynchburg began to field teams consistently over a period of years. In August of 1962, through an affiliation with the Chicago White Sox, the Hill City became the home for a team the White Sox moved here from Savannah, Ga. Lynchburg has fielded a team every year since. And over Lynchburg’s long pro ball history, its teams have produced many outstand- ing Major League ball players. Two of them, Vic Willis and “Red” Schoendienst, have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. But there is another part of Lynchburg’s professional with: the Hill City has hosted 50 Major League exhibition games. Sometimes these games featured two Major League teams. Sometimes a Major League team played a local team. The first games were played in 1895; the most recent game, between the New York Mets and our L-Mets, was played in 1986 as part of Lynchburg’s Bicentennial Celebration. More than 50 future members of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown appeared in those games. Many of them appeared in multiple games. Most of them were players, but there were also a number of team managers. Who were these Hall of Famers? Would you believe Babe Ruth? How about Ty Cobb? Or Joe DiMag- gio? Ted Williams? Jackie Robinson? Roy Campanella? How about Managers Connie Mack and Casey Stengel? (See list ……..) baseball histo- ry which many of today’s fans are not familiar

Lynchburg’s location at the intersec- tion of several railroad lines provided a convenient stopping place for National and American League teams making the trip north to Washington, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York and Boston from their Spring Training bases further south. In 1914 Lynchburg was the Spring Training base for Pittsburgh of the Federal League (FL), a third Major League which operated for three years (1913-1915), and four exhibition games that year featured FL teams from Pitts- burgh, Baltimore and Buffalo, N.Y. What follows is Part 1 of a two-part recap of Major League exhibition games played in the Hill City. Part 1 covers the years 1895 through 1940. In 1895 the Hill City was in its third season of profes- sional baseball and fielded a team known as the Lynchburg Tobacconists in the Virginia State League. On April 11, 1940 It featured the reigning World Cham- pion New York Yankees of the Ameri- can League and the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers. The April 1895 Lynchburg Tobacconists preseason schedule featured six games against five of the National League’s 12 teams: single games against the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Beaneaters, Pittsburgh Pirates, the reigning National League Champion Baltimore Orioles, and two games against the Washington Senators. Those teams featured 13 future Hall of Fame (HoF) players, and Connie Mack, a future HoF Manager. The Tobacconists lost all six of those games, being outscored by a combined 105 to 28. the first baseball game was played at Lynchburg’s newly construct- ed City Stadium.

“The Hill City has hosted 50 Major League exhibition games”

ll in the Hill City pt. 1

Undaunted, the Tobacconists scheduled five more exhibition games the follow- ing April, this time two games with the Brooklyn Bridegrooms and single games with the Beaneaters, Orioles and Phillies. Unfortunately for local fans, the game with the Beaneaters and the second game with the Bridegrooms were rained out. The three games which were played featured seven future HoF players, all of whom had appeared in 1895 games as well, but the scores were much more competitive. The Tobacconists defeated a Phillies team featuring future HoF play- ers Dan Brouthers, Ed Delahanty and Sam Thompson by a score of 6-4. Delah- anty, Brouthers and Thompson’s lifetime batting averages of .345, .343 and .331 respectively rank them fourth, ninth and 24th on the Major League’s all-time list. One of the Phillies pitchers was former Tobacconist Al Orth, acquired by the National League team from the local club the previous summer for a re- ported $1,000. Known as “The Curve- less Wonder”, Orth came to Lynchburg from Indiana, married a local girl and made the Hill City his home. During a 15-year Major League career Orth won 204 games. He returned to Lynchburg to manage the Shoemakers in 1909 and part of 1908. Following his profes- sional baseball career Orth became a Major League umpire and later coached baseball at Washington & Lee University and VMI.

Although Lynchburg did not field a team in 1898, as April dawned an exhibition game was scheduled between the Bea- neaters and Washington & Lee. Rained out of an exhibition game in 1896, the Beaneaters were led by future HoF’s Jimmy Collins, Hugh Duffy and “Sliding Billy” Hamilton, and they defeated the collegians by a score of 6-1. Hamilton, Collins and Duffy’s lifetime batting aver- ages of .344, .333 and .328 respectively rank them eighth, 22nd and 28th on the Major League’s all-time list. In 1906 the Hill City began an affilia- tion with the Class “C” Virginia League. The Lynchburg “Shoemakers” won the League Championship that year with a record of 72 wins and 36 losses, the Hill City’s first crown in its short five-year “pro ball” history. Once again the Shoemakers preseason schedule in- cluded games with Major League teams: this time one game with the National League’s Brooklyn Superbas, and a second with the New York Highlanders of the newly founded American League. The Highlanders defeated the Shoemak- ers 8-2 behind the pitching and home run of the Hill City’s adopted “son” Al Orth who was now playing for the New York club. The Shoemakers 1907 preseason sched- ule included two games with the Super- bas which were rained out, and a single game with the Highlanders won by the visitors 3-0. In 1908 Shoemakers games

with the Boston Doves and Highlanders were won by the visitors 6-0 and 8-1 re- spectively. The following year the same two teams returned for exhibition games and the scores of the visitors’ victories were similar: Doves 12-3 and Highland- ers 9-3. In 1909 once again the Doves and Highlanders stopped in Lynchburg for single games with the Shoemakers. And once again the Hill City team lost both games, falling to the “New York- ers” 9-3 and the “Bostonians” 12-3. The 1909 Highlanders lineup featured HoF outfielder “Wee Willie” Keeler. It was Keeler’s fifth appearance in the Hill City, the

ton “Rustlers” was rained out, as well as a single game with Connie Mack’s Phila- delphia Athletics. They lost the second game scheduled with the Rustlers 2-0. The Shoemakers were shut out in the two games with the Phillies 9-0 and 12-0 and lost a game to the Dodgers 8-1. The Sports Corporation, described as “coming out of the Chamber of Com- merce”, arranged the next exhibition

game for local fans in 1919. It featured the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Braves. Managed

most by any Hall of Fame player. Kee- ler first appeared with the Orioles in 1895 and 1896 and also previously with the Highland- ers in 1907 and 1908. Keeler’s .345 lifetime bat- ting average ranks him 5th on the all-time list.

by Hughie Jennings who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945, the Tigers star attraction was perhaps the greatest baseball player ever to play the game, Tyus Raymond “Ty” Cobb. Cobb’s lifetime .367 batting average ranks him 1st on the all-time list. The Tigers also featured future HoF first baseman Harry Heilmann whose .342 lifetime batting av- erage ranks 12th on the all-time list. The Tigers defeated the Braves 3-2 in a game which drew an estimated 2,500 fans. In the Spring of 1920, The Sports Corpo- ration arranged a follow-up contest be- tween the New York Yankees and the

The Shoemakers’ 1910 three game preseason schedule once again included the American League’s Highlanders. But it also included two games with manager John McGraw’s National League New York Giants. The Shoemakers lost to the Giants 6-1 and 2-0, but played the Highlanders to a 3-3 tie, a game that was called after 12 innings. The Shoemakers were scheduled to play six exhibition games in 1911, but one of two games with the newly renamed Bos-

Brooklyn Dodgers. According to The Lynchburg “News”, admission to the game was $1.00 for adults and $.50 for children, and the bleacher seats were “free”. The Yankees featured center fielder George Her- man “Babe” Ruth. Perhaps better known for hitting

714 home runs, Ruth’s .342 lifetime bat- ting average ranks 10th on the all-time

list. The Yankees won the game with the Dodgers 3-2. The Tigers returned to the Hill City in April of 1935 for a game with the Cincin-

It was only fitting that managers Joe McCarthy and Leo Durocher respectively were future inductees of the Hall of Fame. McCarthy’s lineup featured future HoF’s center fielder Joe DiMaggio and catcher Bill Dickey. Durocher himself shared short-

nati Reds which attracted a crowd estimated at “more than 5,000”. Led by Mickey Cochrane, another future HoF manager, the Tigers won a game 6-3 which was called after six innings due to rain. In addition to Co- chrane, the game featured future Tiger HoF inductees

stop duties with Pee Wee Reese, another future HoF member. Won by the Yankees 11-4, the game featured home runs by the Yankees’ Dickey, left fielder Charlie “King Kong” Keller, first baseman Babe Dahlgren

Charles Gehringer, Goose Goslin, and Hank Greenberg, and Reds inductees Chick Hafey and Johnny Mize. Green- berg hit a solo home run in the second inning. On April 11, 1940 the Yankees and Dodg- ers played the first game at the newly constructed City Stadium before an esti- mated 7,000 fans who “overflowed down the sidelines and around the outfield”.

and third baseman Red Rolfe. Second baseman Pete Coscarart launched one for the Dodgers. (Part 2 to follow)

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